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Don't hang up on Texas!
December 7, 2004 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Have a good day Ms. Beyer! "Before you are rude to another telemarketer, you should keep in mind that he or she has your phone number and your address." Texas Telemarketer sends a threatening letter to a hanger-upper.
posted by wfrgms (39 comments total)

 
I wonder if this station is aware that their URL looks like it's "the CRACKchannel" when you first see it.

I've hung up on telemarketers before, and once, the woman called me back.

"DON'T YOU KNOW, IT'S RUDE TO HANG UP ON SOMEONE?" she yelled.

She hung up before I got the chance to tell her that calling people to harrass them into buying stuff is more rude.
posted by interrobang at 7:38 PM on December 7, 2004


You're allowed to shoot to kill in Texas, right? Even for simple trespassing?

So what's the problem?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:53 PM on December 7, 2004


You know this is totally out of line for the telemarketer to do, but the telemarketer must be hung up on all the time. This makes me wonder what Beyer did to provoke such a reaction.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 7:58 PM on December 7, 2004


As usual, Steve_in_Highschool blames the victim.
posted by interrobang at 8:00 PM on December 7, 2004


Steve_in_LaLaLand hopes to enter the military and afterward attend telemarketer school on the GI bill.
posted by quonsar at 8:35 PM on December 7, 2004


My mother got snippy with a telemarketer who was selling a long distance plan. The offended t-marketer claimed she was going to retaliate by cutting off my mother's phone service. My mother broke up laughing and hung up.
posted by Clay201 at 8:47 PM on December 7, 2004


Isn't the GI Bill kind of, well, socialist? I'm thinking drop the GI Bill, close the VA hospitals, and another round of tax cuts for everyone!
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:47 PM on December 7, 2004


Steve_in_Highschool

What the fuck is that supposed to mean? That I am a high school student? Or are you just a fucking retard?

blames the victim.
I said "this is totally out of line for the telemarketer to do." I I can tell you that I have worked a shitty call center job before, though not telemarkerting, and most people who you talk to are assholes. Point being, that if you are in that line of work, you speak to a lot of assholes, like interrobang, day in day out. You get used to it, or at least deal with it. It is quite a bit of effort for someone who is working for shit pay to care enough to write a person who just hung up on them a letter chewing them out. So I imagine that Ms Beyer said something very obnoxious and/or outrageous to motivate the telemarketer to go through all the effort of sending a letter that could very well cost them their job.

None of that makes it right for the telemarketer to send this letter, but it is interesting to ponder.

(also, I woud hardly call being sent a letter being a "victim")
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:16 PM on December 7, 2004


Steve_at_Wantwood. If a person is easily offended then perhaps a career which requires them being offensive isn't ideal.
posted by Tuatara at 9:17 PM on December 7, 2004


Tuatara, have you ever in your life, had a job in the service industy?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:21 PM on December 7, 2004


Steve_at_Wantwood. How can telemarketing even be remotely considered to be providing a service to anyone but your employer?
posted by Tuatara at 9:25 PM on December 7, 2004


Yeah, Steve. I'm a fucking retard cockface.
posted by interrobang at 9:27 PM on December 7, 2004


What the fuck is that supposed to mean? That I am a high school student? Or are you just a fucking retard?

Outrageous. As if a mere high school student could manage such a piquant mix of rage and eloquence as your fine self.

So I imagine that Ms Beyer said something very obnoxious and/or outrageous to motivate the telemarketer to go through all the effort of sending a letter that could very well cost them their job.

Or they could just be one of those handicapped wheelchair-bound ex-con biker psychopath telemarketers.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:28 PM on December 7, 2004


Yeah, Steve. I'm a fucking retard cockface.
posted by interrobang at 11:27 PM CST on December 7


Thanks for acknowledging that!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:35 PM on December 7, 2004


I've worked as a telemarketer before for a third-party contractor for an unnamed gigantic telecom, to help put myself through college.

I can tell you, it's scary. These guys are pushy. They get a base pay, but the real money comes in on commissions, if you qualify. Most of these are blue-collar people, working to pay rent and grocery bills. They WILL earn that commission, one way or the other.

That's nothing though. Here's something to note. Where I worked, they had access to absolutely frightening amounts of phone records. Long distance bills, current rates, notes on account about the customer, info on where and when someone called, etc.

One common thing was to offer customers a contract to stay on local service with this telecom. Since our pay was directly linked to length, good luck trying to get a short term. No, what was pitched was a three year contract. The discount for this was about 5-10% off the cost of the local phone lines, depending on location. If the customer cut off early? 50% of the monthly charge for every month in the contract. Change local services the next year, forgetting the contract, and those two years remaining mean you get to pay for a full year of service just for termination.

Now, for the scary part.

Verbal confirmation of order.

That's right. No need to sign anything. You just let the telemarketer ramble on, go "uh-huh, uh-huh, yeah.", and you'll wind up agreeing to whatever they pitch.

Telemarketers have scary amounts of info on you. Sometimes, they can sign you up for things before you realize it. Even if they can't, good luck navigating the utter hell that is tech support for some of these places.

I quit that job, ashamed at being a dirty corporate whore. Be afraid of telemarketers. One angry one can easily give you a lot of hell, and unless they get pretty wild with the flagrant lawbreaking, it's not likely they'll suffer consequences.

Steve- One really bad day, and they can use all this glorious information at their fingertips to fire off a nasty letter. The lady most likely didn't say anything that they hadn't heard twenty times before. I doubt she could have. It's a stupid, impulsive reaction by someone who was probably bitter that they got a speeding ticket that morning.
posted by Saydur at 9:42 PM on December 7, 2004


How can telemarketing even be remotely considered to be providing a service to anyone but your employer?

Zing!
posted by rushmc at 9:54 PM on December 7, 2004


Sorry, I have to agree with Steve on this one. I've known, and dealt with a lot of telemarketers (some nice, some not so nice). Either it was this particular staff person's first day on the job or they are unbalanced (which is entirely possible) but come on, telemarketers should be used to this sort of thing.

If the disgruntled callee sent letters to everyone who was rude, how would s/he have any time for a life/their job/write letters to others who upset them?

It's one of those, oh.. I dunno, "perks" of that particular industry. My advice, find another job.

I hate telemarketers as much as the next person, and yes, they provide no real useful service (*ahem* aside from the police services telemarketers *ahem*) but I have to believe that Ms. Beyer is not as "innocent" as she claims.
posted by purephase at 10:08 PM on December 7, 2004


Here is the problem with your argument. Under no circumstances at all should that telemarketer have sent Ms. Beyer a threatening letter. Even if she threatened him, or tortured him verbally (whatever that means), it is still wrong for him to retaliate in this way.

I think you have some sort of stimulus-response model of the human being where the rudeness of the customer directly translates to the wrongheadedness of the telemarketer's response. Like, if Ms. Beyer had been slightly less rude she might have 'gotten off' with just getting the guy to yell at her. Or if she'd been more rude, he'd have physically threatened her at her house. It doesn't work that way, dude. People have their own triggers, and their own ideas of what's right and wrong, and you can't predict how they're going to react to what you'll say.

But we have a set of rules, written and unwritten, that tell you the line between illegal and legal behavior (in a moral sense as well). This guy crossed that line. And the reason he did it is because he didn't see the line, or he believed that he was justified somehow in crossing it. As noted before, I don't believe that anything justifies crossing that line. 100% of the blame goes to the telemarketer.
posted by breath at 12:20 AM on December 8, 2004


This is the same argument as the athlete jumping into the stands and decking a fan, basically.

Telemarketer, wrong. Telemarketers having access to personal information, very, very wrong.

What else ya got?

Oh yeah, and I don't think interrobang is a fucking retard cockface at all. What's the opposite of that? Celibate genius vaginabutt? Nah, that doesn't work either.
posted by fenriq at 12:33 AM on December 8, 2004


So what you're saying is don't do this then? (short mp3)

Incidentally, I think the caller was prosecuted under the Wireless and Telegraphy Act.
posted by johnny novak at 1:03 AM on December 8, 2004


Right. Blame goes to the telemarketer. We can agree on that. Fine? Deep breaths, ladies and gentlemen. Stop with the playground taunts.

The matter of how the lady responded still remains a point of interest, ok? Can we agree to that? I bet we can.
posted by Firas at 1:19 AM on December 8, 2004 [1 favorite]


when I say caller, I mean the guy who answered.
posted by johnny novak at 1:22 AM on December 8, 2004


The cool thing is that the telemarketer knows what she looks like now as well thanks to this article and the accompanying video.
posted by StephenV at 1:47 AM on December 8, 2004


Wow. That's not even funny. Not only is this intimidation, it's basically admitting a violation of any company's privacy policy starting they won't misuse your vital personal information. I'm imagining a pissed off doctor saying "don't fuck with me, I know that you're alegric to insulin." Christ, why not leave a horse's head in her bed or something?

If this story is true, and Ms. Beyer knows which company this asshat called her from, then they're going to have to make a lot more calls to cover the lawsuit they're about to get. I find it hard to believe the public won't be on her side.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:08 AM on December 8, 2004


Telemarketers won't go away, even with the laughable "National Do Not Call" list. Solution? Turn off your phone - your landline, that is. We dropped SBC almost a year ago and switched fulltime to Sprint. Calls between me and my fella are completely free, there's no long distance charges, we get a whole host of services SBC can't even think of providing and, bets of all - no telemarketers. Oh, Sprint called me, exactly once, and has never called back after I explained I didn'r want to receive marketing calls. I'm sure there are other ways to handle this situation, but let's face it: there's too much money at stake for the telemarketing industry to back down, so why play at all? Just drop out of the game and enjoy your phone again... (Oh, Sprint? I know, I know, bad reputation, BUT... Well, YMMV, but here in the Chicago area, I get great coverage and their voice dialing system is simply the best I've seen; my point wasn't "Sprint," my point was "cellphone-based independence from telemarketing nutcases").
posted by JollyWanker at 5:30 AM on December 8, 2004


Whenever a telemarketer calls me, I first make some appreciative noises and then at about 20 sec into the call tell him "wait, can you hold on a second?" after which I go about my business and never get back to the phone.
Some stay put for a surprisingly long time.
Thus, a) I never have to be rude and b) I waste their time, which hopefully puts a tiny dent in their bottom line.

Now, if everybody could do the same thing, the world would be free of telemarketers in no time.
posted by sour cream at 5:45 AM on December 8, 2004


Um... oops...
posted by JollyWanker at 5:47 AM on December 8, 2004


Here is the problem with your argument. Under no circumstances at all should that telemarketer have sent Ms. Beyer a threatening letter. Even if she threatened him, or tortured him verbally (whatever that means), it is still wrong for him to retaliate in this way.

I completely agree. The telemarketer should never have used personal information (that, he should not have had access to in the first place) to take this "fight" outside the telemarketer/telemarketee relationship.

As I said, it was either his first day on the job, or he is unbalanced and should obviously find another line of work.

Firas has it right, I'm just interested in hearing what she actually said, or how, before passing final judgement. As evil as the industry may be, telemarketers are just people and prone to the numerous fallacies that make-up any-and-all industries. This in no way justifies the telemarketers actions, but people should still be treated with a modicum of respect (if they're treating others fairly).
posted by purephase at 6:46 AM on December 8, 2004


I had a vaguely similar experience once. On Sept 11, a telemarketer called, selling cheese straighteners or some damn thing. Obviously I was having a bad day (as was everyone), I said with extreme weariness "fuck off" and hung up.

He called back a few seconds later, released a barrage of profanity, and threatened to come over to my house and that what just happened to the towers would happen to me. This struck me as a bit bombastic, and probably not a serious threat, but when I tried to report the incident to SWBell, I discovered just how bureaucratically impossible it is.
posted by adamrice at 7:36 AM on December 8, 2004


just a thought:

have you ever tried to politely ask these people to add your name to the do not call list?

i worked as a telemarketer for a few years between high school and college, and tactics like these don't get you anywhere. telemarketing calls still irritate me no end, but after being on their side i try to sympathize and at least politely ask them this.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:57 AM on December 8, 2004


sour cream - I'm a telemarketer. Except my bosses try to tell me I'm not, because I just make fundraising calls. Whatever. Anyway, I love it when people just put the phone down for a while, and I try to stay on the line as long as possible, because as soon as I end a call a new one dials itself automatically. Staying on an abandoned call is a bit of down time for me, fewer people I have to talk to. It doesn't really affect my bottom line, because I'm such a shitty caller I'm always on the "people who would rather poke selves in eye with sharp stick than give you money" list. Actually, I bet it saves the foundation some money, because they contract with the call center to pay $5.25 per contact.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:37 AM on December 8, 2004


I think I got some spam from Celibate Genius Vaginabutt the other day.

It would be interesting to know what Ms. Beyer said. Not that anything she said would justify the sending of such a letter, of course. But I wonder if she was unusually confrontational or if this particular telemarketer is just a hostage situation waiting to happen.

As for what to do with telemarketers, I always say, very cheerfully, "Are you selling something? Well, we're not going to buy anything, so I don't want to waste another second of your time. Have a good (day/evening)!"

The key to this strategy is to say all of that in a sprightly, polite tone and then hang up.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:59 AM on December 8, 2004


johnny novak, that mp3 is quality, the nerve of that telemarketer was amazing, the 'it will only take a few seconds' about 2/3 of the way in cracked me up. But to actually report that - Jesus.
posted by biffa at 9:51 AM on December 8, 2004


Tuatara: Is it now okay to call people you disagree with "fag" ? Because I think I missed that memo.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:29 PM on December 8, 2004


Steve_at_Wantwood.

Could you please pay me the courtesy of making some degree of sense?

Where was "fag" mentioned?
posted by Tuatara at 3:01 PM on December 8, 2004


Sounds like you just mentioned it, Tuaturda
posted by angry modem at 6:48 PM on December 8, 2004


I think Tuatara is calling Steve "Wantwood" because of the George Bush quote. But Steve is misinterpreting it as being a homosexual slur.

That right?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:07 PM on December 8, 2004


Thank you Pretty Generic.

Sorry Steve.

Where I'm from, wood is derived from trees not penises. It was a dig at your unyielding support for your semi coherent leader and at no stage did I mean to call your manliness into question.

Also, sorry angry modem but, as tempting as it is, I refuse to indulge a chihuahua in a barking competition.
posted by Tuatara at 7:42 PM on December 8, 2004


I think Tuatara is calling Steve "Wantwood" because of the George Bush quote. But Steve is misinterpreting it as being a homosexual slur.

Give him a break, he forgets Poland too.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:30 PM on December 8, 2004


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